A WOMAN has expressed her relief after a man she described as "the bane of her life" was convicted of harassment.
Christina Jennings told Roscommon District Court that she had been threatened with a visit from Martin 'The Viper' Foley if she "did not pay her bills".
Mrs Jennings, of Corgrave, Ballymurray, Co Roscommon, told of how she felt as if she was being "stalked constantly" by Richard Kenny, of Roverkelly, Rahara, Athleague.
Kenny claimed that her husband Martin owed him a debt.
Kenny (34), a father of four who worked as a machine driver for Mr Jennings, had denied a single charge of harassing Mrs Jennings on dates between September 12 and September 23, 2011, at her place of work in Roscommon County Hospital.
A total of 13 prosecution witnesses gave evidence in the marathon case which began earlier this year and concluded yesterday.
Mrs Jennings told the court: "Richard Kenny is outrageous, I fear him, I am humiliated by him, I am traumatised when I see him. He has caused me utter distress – he is the bane of my life."
On September 21, 2011, she was coming from the bathroom when Kenny stood in front of her in a corridor at the hospital. He said that if she could not pay her bills, Martin Foley would deal with her. "I was in a distressed state," she said.
Sergeant Joseph O'Malley told the court that Kenny had claimed to him that he was owed €5,500 by Mrs Jennings and her husband.
Defence barrister Laurence Gouchier told the court that his client was owed money and was trying to sort out the matter, but Mrs Jennings would not talk to him.
Mr Gouchier said that Mr Kenny had engaged the services of a debt collector, Viper Debt Recovery and Repossession Services Ltd. The company had no criminal convictions. Convicted criminal Martin Foley "had served his time and was a rehabilitated man".
The court heard that Mr and Mrs Jennings' son was a garda based in Tullamore. On October 19, 2011, Kenny had driven a van to Tullamore and parked it outside the garda station. It had two large signs saying "Garda Shane Jennings' Daddy owes me 5,500 euro."
Kenny was arrested and later charged with harassing Mrs Jennings.
Mr Gouchier insisted that while his client had been "stupid and foolish", his actions had not reached the threshold required for a charge of harassment. He said that Mr Foley's company was "a proper company" and was even used by banks.
Judge Aeneas McCarthy said he was satisfied that the case had been proved and he convicted Kenny. He was told that he had two previous convictions – for the unauthorised taking of a vehicle and for theft.
He imposed a nine-month prison sentence, but suspended it on condition he be of good behaviour and keep the peace for two years.
Leaving court, Mrs Jennings smiled and gave a thumbs-up to a waiting photographer and declared "justice is done".